While the cold snap continues to cause chaos in Britain, Team Sky has escaped the snow and ice and decamped to Spain to prepare for its first debut season.
Some of the riders due to ride the Tour Down Under – Chris Sutton and Greg Henderson – are already in Australia, while the rest were due to fly out from London after spending a few of days in the city after Monday’s team launch.
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The rest of the squad headed to Valencia in Spain on Tuesday for a 10-day training camp. It’s not a venue that’s been frequently used by pro teams, but Team Sky wanted somewhere different that offered good weather and nice, varied roads. After considering more than 10 potential bases, including other regions of Spain, Tuscany and Portugal, they settled on the Spanish city.
“We were very keen to get a location where we thought we’d get good weather, it’s important for us in this early part of the season,” team principal Dave Brailsford told Sky News.
“The important thing is that everybody got out on a bike today. You can do as much team building in hotels as you want, but where it really gels is on the bike and the guys all got out as a group today.”
The Tour Down Under takes place in and around Adelaide in South Australia, from January 19-24. Sky’s seven-man team for the TDU will be Russell Downing, Chris Froome, Mat Hayman, Greg Henderson, Chris Sutton, Ben Swift and Davide Vigano.
Sutton ranks as one of the favourites for the TDU having just won the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic riding for Skilled-Lowe Farms. Sky team-mate Henderson (riding for Mazda) was second.